A game of inside dominance against raining jump shots. Ball movement against individual dominance. The Eagle pitted against the Phoenix. It was the penultimate but most vital test for our SEASAC Boys Basketball team, which saw them face an impressive SAS squad before they head to Bangkok for the tournament for this year.
The game on 22 January enjoyed the largest showing for a Basketball game this season from our school community. The support was clearly a major factor in the Phoenix boys’ performance as they fed off the energy that the crowd brought to the game. The boys started the game with a quick 6-0 run completed through a series of breakaway layups. Captain Roland Cruz flew through the SAS defense after they turned the ball over, and thread the needle to any looming player cutting in towards the basket with effortless perfection. The team slowed its play down with the substitution of Pranav Bhardwaj and the younger players such as Joonsung Kim and Yanni Stamatelos into the game, who encouraged a more focused, set play-based offense. However this did not seem to help the boys, as the score at the end of the first quarter was 10-7.
As the game continued its course, it was quite evident that the team was getting used to the court. They continued to dominate the rebounds and were effectively using their size advantage to regain possession at any given chance. The brilliant defense was emphasized further when senior Linus Lester-Hodges excited the crowd with an emphatic block. Almost instantly after the defensive play, Roland led another fastbreak in which he pulled up for a three point shot and buried it. The Phoenix boys were showing their supporters that they were a force to be reckoned with, on offense and defense. The second quarter ended with a score of 24-11, and our boys were running away with the game. The third quarter was quite similar in many ways, with both teams trading fastbreak lay-ups, but SAS being a smaller team in terms of size, lost the essential battle of the rebound, which lead to an increase in our lead. The third quarter ended with the Dover Phoenix leading the game by 19 points, 42-23.
As in most basketball games, the fourth quarter was packed with riveting action. It was a plague of fouls and turnovers for both teams, which lead to more fastbreak showings. The highlight of the quarter was Roland’s hangtime layup which defied physics as it went in. But that would be one of the few layups he would convert to points. Although he wasn’t making his lay-ups, our bigs were crashing the boards and cleaning up for our guards. The abundance of fouls in the game led to a clear rift between the referees and the coaches, with Dover Coach John McAuliffe receiving a technical foul in the fourth quarter for arguing a missed foul call. A technical was also received by one of the SAS players for arguing against the referee for what he claimed was a bad call. Roland again was victim to one of these fouls which caused him to fall—but rather than getting back up, Roland indulged the crowd by performing a few push ups whilst on the floor. The lead stayed constant throughout the rest of the game, with the final score being 54-41, and a victory for our Dover Phoenix 19U SEASAC Basketball team.
Throughout the game, the school community was gifted with engrossing basketball bustle. From jaw-dropping layups, sumptuous passing to big blocks and beautiful bench celebrations, the Phoenix boys were a delight to watch. On behalf of all of us in the community, we would like to wish the team the best of luck for their upcoming tournament. We would definitely also like to remind Captain Roland to make his layups.
This year’s SEASAC Boys’ Basketball team is made up of: